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Sci. STKE, 8 April 2003
Vol. 2003, Issue 177, p. pe13
[DOI: 10.1126/stke.2003.177.pe13]


Dynamic Imaging in Living Cells: Windows into Local Signaling

Donald M. Bers*

Department of Physiology, Loyola University Chicago, Stritch School of Medicine, 2160 South First Avenue, Maywood, IL 60153, USA.

Abstract: Highly localized changes in intracellular calcium concentration [Ca2+]i play a critical role in regulating numerous cellular functions, ranging from muscle contraction to neurotransmitter and hormone secretion to gene transcription. Fluorescent Ca2+ indicators have been invaluable tools in elucidating the role of localized changes in [Ca2+]i in regulating ion channels and other key proteins in various signaling pathways. Other techniques used to investigate localized changes in [Ca2+]i include approaches based on fluorescence resonance energy transfer, and electrophysiological measurements of ionic flux through Ca2+-sensitive channels. This Perspective discusses research using fluorescent Ca2+ indicators to study excitation-contraction coupling in cardiac myocytes, presenting both key findings and limitations of this approach. Complementary approaches useful in studying localized changes in Ca2+ and other second messengers (such as cyclic adenosine monophosphate) are also discussed.

*Contact information. Telephone, 708-216-1018; fax, 708-216-6308; e-mail, dbers{at}

Citation: D. M. Bers, Dynamic Imaging in Living Cells: Windows into Local Signaling. Sci. STKE 2003, pe13 (2003).

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